A Muslim rebel leader holding dozens of hostages threatened Monday to kill more of his captives, citing in particular the Americans, and warned that his insurgency would spread across Southeast Asia.
Abu Sabaya demanded that the Philippine government bring in three negotiators involved in mediating the end to another hostage crisis last year by his Abu Sayyaf group. The rebels reportedly received as much as $25 million in ransoms.
Sabaya, whose group has already killed several captives and claims to have beheaded Guillermo Sobero of Corona, one of the three American hostages, said his insurgents will kill more people if the government ignores his demand.
Speaking by satellite telephone from the southern Philippines, he specifically mentioned Martin Burnham, who was kidnapped along with his wife, Gracia. All three Americans, as well as a group of Philippine tourists, were snatched from a beach resort May 27 and taken by the rebels to Basilan island.
Sabaya warned that he would take his Muslim insurgency first to nearby Malaysia, then spread the conflict further.